Taphonomic implications of polychaete jaws recovered from gut contents of the queen triggerfish



Remains of jawed polychaetes were recovered from stomach contents of queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula L.) collected by spearing from Came Bow Cay, Belize, Central America. Jaws in the nereidids, glycerids, and arabellids recovered are perfectly preserved, and might be passed by the fish without noticeable alteration. Jaws in the onuphids are fully articulated, but the outer wall-layer has been digested away, leaving only the inner aragonitic layer intact. A low fossilization potential for onuphid jaws is indicated, consistent with laboratory studies of jaw composition. Based on literature accounts, fish predation may have a considerable influence on polychaete jaw (scolecodont) assemblages in sediment.